Biography:Magnus Manske

From HandWiki
Short description: German biochemist and MediaWiki developer
Magnus Manske
Magnus Manske.png
Heinrich Magnus Manske

(1974-05-24) 24 May 1974 (age 49)
Cologne, North Rhine Westphalia, West Germany
Alma materUniversity of Cologne
Known for
Scientific career
ThesisGENtle, a free multi-purpose molecular biology tool (2006)
Doctoral advisor
  • Helmut W. Klein
  • Sabine Waffenschmidt[2]

Heinrich Magnus Manske (born 24 May 1974) is a senior staff scientist at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, UK[1][3][4][5][6] and a software developer of one of the first versions of the MediaWiki software, which powers Wikipedia.[7]

Early life

Manske was born in Cologne, Germany. He studied biochemistry at the University of Cologne and graduated in 2006 with a PhD; his dissertation was an open source tool for molecular biology called GENtle.[2][8]


As a student, Manske was one of the first contributors to the Internet encyclopedia Nupedia, the precursor to Wikipedia, and later wrote one of the first versions of the MediaWiki software that Wikipedia runs on.[9] Manske has worked in Cambridge with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute since April 2007,[10][11][12][13][14] but remains active in the development of tools for Wikipedia[15] and its sister projects Wikidata and Wikimedia Commons.[16]

In 2012, Manske was co-author of a paper published in Nature that demonstrated new ways to identify areas where malaria parasites are evolving, and described techniques for mapping malarial drug resistance. The researchers developed a technique to extract the malaria parasite DNA directly from the blood, which minimizes errors in sequencing.[10][17]

Development of MediaWiki

As a student, Manske was one of the most active contributors to the Nupedia project,[18] submitting content on biology topics[9] and developing tools and extensions for Nupedia.[19] Later, unhappy with the existing software's limitations,[18] Manske developed one of the first versions of what later became MediaWiki.[19][20] His new version of the software was installed in 2002.[18]

The wiki software that was initially used for Wikipedia was called UseModWiki and was written in Perl. With issues of scale starting to present themselves as Wikipedia grew, in the summer of 2001, Manske started work on a replacement for UseModWiki that would be database-backed and would contain "wikipedia-specific features."[21] On 25 January 2002, Manske released the first version of a MySQL-based PHP wiki engine, called Phase II.[22] One innovation implemented by Manske in Phase II was the use of namespaces in order to separate different types of pages, such as the "Talk" or "User" namespace, which distinguished it from older wiki software which didn't have different namespaces.[21] Phase II also introduced a number of other features which are still present, including file upload, watchlists, automatic signatures, and user contributions list.[23][24] Manske's re-write also made it easier to integrate photographs in Wikipedia articles, and created a new user group: administrators, empowered to delete pages and block vandals.[18][25]

Manske was an adherent of open source and specifically the GPL license, and his work on the early versions of MediaWiki was released under the GPL license.[26]

Manske's Phase II software encountered load issues as Wikipedia continued to grow, so Lee Daniel Crocker did another re-write, which led to phase III, which was used from June 2002 and from 2003 onwards was called "MediaWiki".[22] The resultant MediaWiki software is now used as the core platform for both Wikipedia and many Wikimedia sister projects, as well as in many organizations and institutions.

Manske continued to develop extensions for MediaWiki and tools used to build Wikipedia and its sister projects, including tools to map category membership, compute category intersections, and import images from Flickr to Commons.[27][28][29] Manske also developed the Cite extension which brought an XML-like syntax to citation management.[30]


Manske at a Wikidata event in 2015.

Manske is recognized as the creator of the first article in the German Wikipedia, which was on the polymerase chain reaction, first written by him in 2001.[31][32][33]

Jimmy Wales in 2002 named 25 January as Magnus Manske day in honor of his contributions to Wikipedia, proclaiming that "Tonight at dinner, every Wikipedian should say a toast to Magnus and his many inventions."[34] Larry Sanger, in his memoir on the early history of Wikipedia, highlighted the contributions of Manske to the project and attributes the eventual success of Wikipedia to a core group of actors, with Manske playing an important role:[35]

Wikipedia started with a handful of people, many from Nupedia. The influence of Nupedians was crucial early on. I think, especially, of the tireless Magnus Manske (who worked on the software for both projects), our resident stickler Ruth Ifcher, and the very smart poker-playing programmer Lee Daniel Crocker—to name a few...Still, because the project started with these good people, and we were able to adopt, explain, and promote good habits and policies to newer people, the Nupedian roots of the project helped to develop a robust, functional and successful community.

Manske, along with others, was recognized as a major contributor to MediaWiki by the USENIX Advanced Computing Technical Association in 2010, when MediaWiki and the Wikimedia Foundation were honoured with a STUG award (Software Tools User Group).[36]

See also

  • List of Wikipedia people


  1. 1.0 1.1 Magnus Manske publications indexed by Google Scholar
  2. 2.0 2.1 Magnus Manske (2006). GENtle, a free multi-purpose molecular biology tool (PhD thesis). University of Cologne. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  3. {{DBLP}} template missing ID and not present in Wikidata.
  4. List of publications from Microsoft Academic
  5. Magnus Manske's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (Subscription content?)
  6. Daub, J.; Gardner, P. P.; Tate, J.; Ramsköld, D.; Manske, M.; Scott, W. G.; Weinberg, Z.; Griffiths-Jones, S. et al. (2008). "The RNA WikiProject: Community annotation of RNA families". RNA 14 (12): 2462–2464. doi:10.1261/rna.1200508. PMID 18945806. 
  7. Magnus Manske on Twitter
  8. Alastair Kerr (21 June 2011). "Desktop Sequence Analysis: software review". Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Claudia Lehnen (2 February 2008). "Der Wikipedia-Pionier aus Köln" (in German). Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger.,15189524,13249760.html. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Manske, M.; Miotto, O.; Campino, S.; Auburn, S.; Almagro-Garcia, J.; Maslen, G.; o’Brien, J.; Djimde, A. et al. (2012). "Analysis of Plasmodium falciparum diversity in natural infections by deep sequencing". Nature 487 (7407): 375–9. doi:10.1038/nature11174. PMID 22722859. Bibcode2012Natur.487..375M. 
  11. Manske, H. M.; Kwiatkowski, D. P. (2009). "Look Seq: A browser-based viewer for deep sequencing data". Genome Research 19 (11): 2125–32. doi:10.1101/gr.093443.109. PMID 19679872. 
  12. Manske, H. M.; Kwiatkowski, D. P. (2009). "SNP-o-matic". Bioinformatics 25 (18): 2434–5. doi:10.1093/bioinformatics/btp403. PMID 19574284. 
  13. Robinson, T.; Campino, S. G.; Auburn, S.; Assefa, S. A.; Polley, S. D.; Manske, M.; MacInnis, B.; Rockett, K. A. et al. (2011). "Drug-Resistant Genotypes and Multi-Clonality in Plasmodium falciparum Analysed by Direct Genome Sequencing from Peripheral Blood of Malaria Patients". PLoS ONE 6 (8): e23204. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023204. PMID 21853089. Bibcode2011PLoSO...623204R. 
  14. Logan, D. W.; Sandal, M.; Gardner, P. P.; Manske, M.; Bateman, A. (2010). "Ten Simple Rules for Editing Wikipedia". PLOS Computational Biology 6 (9): e1000941. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000941. PMID 20941386. Bibcode2010PLSCB...6E0941L.  open access
  15. "Magnus Manske". Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  16. Wikimedia-related tools by Magnus Manske
  17. "DNA Research; Putting parasites on the world map". China Weekly News. 26 June 2012. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Kurt Jansson (14 January 2011). "Zehn Jahre Wikipedia – Der kurze Sommer der Anarchie". Der Spiegel. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 Jennifer Joline Anderson (2011). Wikipedia: The Company and Its Founders. ABDO. p. 44. ISBN 978-1-61714-812-5. 
  20. Torsten Kleinz (16 December 2012). "Neues Werkzeug soll Anfänger zur Wikipedia locken". Die Zeit. 
  21. 21.0 21.1 Sumana Harihareswara; Guillaume Paumier (2012). "MediaWiki". in Amy Brown. The Architecture of Open Source Applications. Kristian Hermansen. ISBN 978-1-105-57181-7. Retrieved 27 March 2016. 
  22. 22.0 22.1 Rajeev Kumar. "Wiki Installation and Customization". Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  23. "Wikipedia:PHP script new features" (in en). Wikipedia. 27 January 2002. 
  24. Magnus Manske (27 January 2002). "[Wikipedia-l New features list"]. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  25. Erik Möller (9 May 2003). "Das Wiki-Prinzip". Heise online. 
  26. N. A. Polukarova (June 2007). "The concept of open editing from the copyright viewpoint". Automatic Documentation and Mathematical Linguistics 41 (3): 104–107. doi:10.3103/S0005105507030053. ISSN 1934-8371. "In simpler words, while the developers of proprietary programs use their copyrights to deprive most of the users of most of their freedoms, GPL adherents, including above-mentioned Magnus Manske, use these privileges to guarantee these freedoms to users.". 
  27. "Magnus' toys'n'tools". Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  28. "Magnus' tools on wmflabs". Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  29. "Tools Directory". Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved 31 January 2019. 
  30. Mathias Schindler; Denny Vrandečić (March 2009). "Introducing new features to Wikipedia". Proceedings of the First International Conference on Web Sciences WebSci09. Athens, Greece. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  31. "German Wikipedia reaches landmark millionth entry". Deutsche Welle. 28 December 2009. 
  32. dpa/mos (28 December 2009). "Deutsche Wikipedia erreicht eine Million Einträge". Die Zeit. 
  33. Achim Sawall (28 December 2009). "Deutschsprachige Wikipedia erreicht die Millionenmarke". 
  34. "[Wikipedia-l Celebration"]. 25 January 2002. Retrieved 4 June 2013. 
  35. Larry Sanger (2008). "The Early History of Nupedia and Wikipedia: A Memoir". in Chris DiBona. Open Sources 2.0: The Continuing Evolution. O'Reilly Media. p. 317. ISBN 978-0-596-55389-0. 
  36. "STUG award". Retrieved 4 June 2013. 

External links